Spivak: Can The Subaltern Speak?
Historical problem: How to write the history of history's losers who left no records?
History tends to be the story of the victors
Contemporary problem: How will we know what those whose voices are never heard really want?
Project of Subalten studies: make those voices heard
Trying to give global South more centrality;
the marginal in power are not necessarily the marginal in consequence
Two key ideas:
the weak are not marginal; the weak have agency
Mutual constitution of core and periphery
, e.g. Then: Indian armies fighting for British empire; Now: the effect 'small' wars have on US --> the lines of influence work in both directions,
Ghandi's Non-violent Critique of Modernity
: 'Indian Home Rule'
Critique of modernity
, not just Britain
Sees institutions such as the media, the railway, etc. as
(paradoxically, as he uses them himself)
Critique of violence
Wanted to encourage nationals to think more originally
, many just wanted to adopt British system
Fanon's Violent Appropriation of Modernity
: 'The Wretched of the Earth
Not a critique of modernity but of the appropriation of its wealthy by the coloniser and the native bourgeoisie
violence as the only way to overthrow colonialism
Describes colonialism in binary terms but is also
suspicious of the local elite the prefers a non-violent compromise
--> fears that that would be
Implicitly critiquing Ghandi
Ngugi wa Thiong'o: 'Decolonising the Mind':
Colonialism is physical but also mental
, material but also ideational
Post-colonialism as what happens
? Usually meant in this sense
Too much focus on ideas, not enough on materiality
Class is the key basis of oppression
--> race/gender matter because of material disparities
Concepts like hybridity blur the boundary between friends and enemies; whom do we fight?
Not ignoring material power, but thinking about how knowledge serves and constitute power
Rooted in anticolonial thought: most prominent thinkers and activists cared about material & mental colonialism
Edward Said: 'Orientalism'
Assumption fo a
close relationship between knowledge and power
Knowledge can be used
in the service of power (to rule them you have to know them)
Knowledge can be
constitutive of power
, e.g. ideas about beauty (forms of knowledge that create hierarchy)
What is Orientalism?
Field of academic inquiry
Style of thought
making ontological and epistemological distinctions between the superior West
the inferior West
(Orient) which is in need of development and rescue --> binary thinking
Corporate institutions for dealing with the Orient
from the 18th century
Bhabha: Anatomy of Colonial Discourse
dea of the stereotype
: the native is fixed, static, rebellious, anarchic, permanently inferior, morally improvable, etc. --> ambivalent description, e.g. static & rebellious??
Mimicry as strategy of power
: using native as 'interpreters', intermediaries as instruments of imperial rule
intermediaries often turned against imperial rule
, seeing themselves as capable of running their country on their own
Hybridity: colonial encounter not as a clash but negotiation; some things were extracted, others were rejected; e.g. mimic class; adopting some Western thought but also clinging to indigenous traditions